Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Many problems arise because the root of the issue lies in insecurity.

Have you asked yourself these questions: Just what is it, in this world, that has robbed so many, so many, of us, of our security? Where have we invested our trust to keep our sense of security safe? Why is the issue of insecurity so acute and widely proliferate?

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Right now as i'm typing, i'm stopping every now and then to press a warmed spoon (warmed by the hot water that the spoon sits in, in a mug) against my eyes. No, it isn't some beauty regime. It's just that my eyes are puffy and tired from crying this morning for like, 2 hours and a bit? It's now 10pm and the uncomfortable feeling in my eyes has not passed. Hence the warm spoon. I took a panadol extra for my headache and i slept all through the afternoon, but it hasn't worked. Anyways.

What's the problem you ask?

Well, after this morning's talk, my parents now know how i struggle with being with people and meeting people. They also now know my opinion about parenting styles and their styles of motivation. And all this came out all because my dad asked me how my university and job applications were going. To cut everything short, he asked me the question in a way i found provokative (to which he said it was not meant to be) and i reacted and everything that needed to come out, came out.

Seriously, i count myself lucky that i have parents who will bother to sit and talk to me about my issues instead of beating me up wham-bam-sorry-ma'am style. Yes, maybe taking in and appreciating my point of view may be a bit tricky for them at first, but when i stated repeatedly that we (as in, me and the folks) should really just listen, understand and respect that we are all unique people with our individual struggles stemming from our different upbringings and backgrounds, they listened and respected where i was coming from when i shared with them my problems.

I think they saw and probably heard for the first time from their daughter's mouth what their daughter was going through. Maybe they have seen it all as i was growing up, but they've never heard it from me explicitly. I think that really needed to know the reality of what's going on behind the scenes.

This is why i always strongly believe in communication. Without it, how can you ever hear others or allow yourself to be heard? Even when you know it's going to be tough and painful, things are different when issues are explicitly trashed out. But then, it's sad when communication cannot be carried out, when the people concerned just do not have the capacity to communicate, for their various valid/or invalid-but-rationalized-to-become-valid reasons.

PS: I can't fully remember what i was dreaming about when i was sleeping, but i know that there was a lot of screaming. The effort to scream and the desire to scream was so consuming that it's contributed to my current headache. Wow, this is a first.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Guys are ________________________

I shall choose not to fill it up. Those of you who know me well enough will know what i'd say.


Anyway. I heard some good news! SIM is converting that nice but semi-effectively-useless student lounge into a GYM. (not that i'll be SIM to use it though...) Yes, a GYM! I am SO BRILLIANT. HA! A few years ago, i said outloud to a friend in a crowded SIM lift: "You know, we should have ATMs and a gym in school." And well. Guess what.

Now we've got POSB and OCBC ATMs, AND now this is coming to past. HA! Maybe someone heard my plea.


Asking for help and enquiring about administrative issues through the UniSIM, NUS and NIE helplines have been a bit trying today. And from talking to these people, i have concluded that the UniSIM admin people are the overall best service providers. At least from this population sample. (Actually, i've almost always had consistent good phone service from the UniSIM folks.)
The person from NUS was, i *think*, eating when i called and had somewhat delayed responses, and the NIE person did not know much and had to ask for a lot of assistace from other people in the background. I should've just spoken to someone else. When the phone call ended, she sounded like she had been put through a meat grinder and had no energy left to even say a proper "goodbye, thank you for your enquiry" or "thank you". Must be a newbie/had a bad day/PMS/etc...

I must admit i was irritated by some of their incompetence, but i told myself that I was once in their shoes and no one wants to receive a call from a nasty, easily upset or impatient caller that would spoil their entire day or working experience. So i kept my tone controlled and as light as possible... Must learn to be gracious! Even when someone wrongs you... Be gracious. It's hard lah, but when someone is genuinely gracious, s/he is absolutely beautiful, at least in my sight!


Assessing the courses from NIE, NUS, RMIT, Monash, Curtin, Murdoch, UniSouthAustralia, Swineburne and UQueensland. Busy.

Getting relevant paper work done. Busy, busy.

Having to ask academics and employer for a report on me. Paiseh to the max. Busy busy busy.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Today, i went out with my special friend... (another one, not Gem) *grin*

Thank you Lord for friends. For friends who love and accept me as i am. THANK YOU GOD. Like, SERIOUSLY.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

random pic(k)s

What you see here, was a dinner i concocted all by myself k? Stir fried dow miao with garlic, oven baked chilli sting ray and chincalok with lime juice.
Talented, not?

Super old school right? My granny's mailbox that's attached to her gate. It's been slightly improved with a plastic sheet to stop rain from soaking the mail.

I saw this at Taka and i HAD to take a picture of it if i could not buy it. My love affair with horses all began when little kid joline hankered after every single thing that had my little ponies on it. Well, i am still kinda taken in by them. :-)

The night Gem dyed my hair for me. He put SO much effort into doing it that it took like hours and i, OOPS, became restless and sleepy and irritable. Look at his gloved hand and the bottle of dye, and check out that expression. Hilarious. HA.

Jun, Denise, Issy and i had a great girly night out at the atas Dempsey Hill. We were dressed in... OUR PJs. Can you believe it. Jun and i felt like everyone was staring at the both of us since we were the 'best dressed'. She was in her secondary school alma-mata tee and shorts, while i was wearing a (Chronicles of) Narnia tee with my checkered home shorts that NEVER steps out of the house for more than a few minutes! Oh. Good. Grief. The embarrassment.
Well, we had a good time (atas than atas lor.... we is got money to pay for our ice cream at the Ben and Jerry's can?) and that's all that matters.

That's us in the female toilet being trigger happy. Aiyo. Had to pluck up some courage (from where in the toilet, i do not know) before stepping out again to face the atas world in our PJs.

Friday, January 11, 2008

thought for the day: purpose

Here i am at home surrounded by not much else except my thoughts. In the past 2 weeks, two people have dropped bombshells on me leaving me quite, quite stunned. It's not a BIG deal compared to some other types of bombshells, but it's significant enough to me and well, it hurts. I wonder if life would be any different, whether things will become pretentious? You can never tell till you test out the situation.

I've sent off my membership application to SPS, while i await my attestation letter to send off to APS. Been pretty much occupied with trying to get my post graduate life in order what with the seeking of masters openings and now, looking for a job.

And amidst all this, i'm feeling a certain depth of despair, of emptiness. It's only the thought of spending time with God that makes me happy, and nothing else. Notice i said "the thought of" and not "spending time with God". Sigh, i've been busy scurrying around that the only moments i have left for God are the times when i am on the go, and before i sleep. Yeah, I am going to remedy this asap.

It's in moments like these, of being left alone when i am left with the essence of my self. All my friends are in school or at work, going about their lives that are structured. My family members are also all blessed with paid work. I was caught in a series of events, but now? I realize, how accustomed i have grown to busy-ness and friends and noise, that when i am left doing nothing, when i have nothing to give me identity or purpose, when i have had enough solitary rest, i begin to feel a seeping in of, dare i say, depression?

On the morning of my 21st birthday, i had experienced that intense feeling of depression and it took days to pass.

Yet, i am determined to get past my emotions. A friend once told me, "emotions are real, but are not truth". I don't entirely agree, but i suppose it should apply here. I know that things are going all right, and i don't have any real crisis to mourn over. I HAVE a purpose, it's just that there is a time lapse between my engagement with it and i need focus, patience and stability of mind, soul and spirit to get through this time.

I've always heard the phrase "purpose in life" so often, but never quite understood it, till i've actually experienced a glimpse of life with the lack of it.

Some say that without purpose, a person's psyche can be quite disturbed.

And now something beckons from the back of my mind...:

Short term purposes versus long term purposes.

Once we fulfill the short term, we make new ones to reach. And each time, we run out of goals when we have conquered the last one. We sense fulfillment and achievement, but when we lay aside the goals we have reached, what truly lies at our core? Were those things the only things that gave life meaning? If we stripped all the acitivites away, the friends, the food, the jobs, the errands, the deeds. What fuels us, inspires us?

There is something quite profound about having a long term goal, a life vision. The deep seated, resonating passion that you KNOW exists in your inner being. It's not the kind of thing that dies when you fail in some endeavours in life. When you fail at some junctures, you know that your long term mission does not change. It just means that you learn something, get energised again, and you pick yourself up and know that life is not over, and that being ALIVE and HAVING life itself simply means that you have simply been granted more time and space to move ahead and progress.

Yet there is another dimension. Might i say that there is a difference between living without God versus with God who works with me and my goals.

From a personal point of view, the person who truly breathes life into my life and long term goal(s) are not my parents, not my friends, not Gem, but Daddy and Best Friend, God. This part may get a little bit hard to understand for some reading this, but i'll try to put it simply:

God is a loving God, and he knows my own desires and wills of my heart. At the same time, i love God and want to fulfill his purposes for me. With a relationship with God, somehow, what i want and what he wants will begin to merge. Because when your heart beats in sync with someone else's, your goals become similar.

And what better way is there to live life when your goals are guarantee chopped approved by a great and almighty God, the creator of everything?

In life, you just cannot please everyone. And so, in pursuing these goals, you may have to take unbeaten tracks, or meet with adversaries, or disapproval, or discouragement, and sometimes, the challenges hurt even more when they come from those who are closest to you.

But when i've faith in the one person who matters most, God will makes things right in the end, even when everything goes or looks wrong. As long as i follow bravely the path he shows me in my heart, nothing can stop me. Hence, now, do i not only have a long term purpose that will inspire me, but i also have an everlasting and loving Father God who watches my back.

So for now, i'll put things into perspective and think rationally. Lay the negative emotions aside, love what i have and who i have in my life whether or not they are near or far, and be secure in my long term purpose and God's purpose for me. Unless God flashes me a huge neon sign to state otherwise, i cannot go wrong from here.

Monday, January 07, 2008

A series of blessed events

Hi folks! Hey, you know, i'm pretty much brimming with shorts stories here and there about how God has really just shown himself to me in such cool ways. I think that there's no better time to do it then now, otherwise i'd simply forget and all of it would fade into the deep depths of my memory. So, without further babbling, here is my truckload of testimonies!

1. The exam grades

Last semester was a busy one for me because i was juggling schoolwork, workplace work and project, church and mission trip stuff and my own running training. Remember that terrible paper i had last year, the module called Acculturation Psychology? I studied for it, but i studied all the "wrong" things! Whatever that came out in the exam were stuff i did not study for. I left the exam hall 30minutes earlier, and that is something i've never done in my entire schooling life.

So i pretty much felt that i messed up my whole paper, and i began preparing myself mentally to redo that module. The only complication with that would be: if that module is only available in the july semester, then i'd be wasting the first 6 months (Jan to June), and effectively, one whole year!

I went about my holidays trying not to think about the possibility of what might happen. I just told myself that whatever happens, God has a reason for it and that i trust him for whatever that may come. I had to ready my folks mentally too should i really have to repeat. But nothing could erase that feeling of dread that made my heart sink to my stomach just thinking about seeing a red mark on my transcript.

When i returned from my mission trip on the 23rd of december, i immediately checked for my exams results when i came home after dinner. And you know, God is good... I had gotten a B- for that terrible module. I had procured a B-! Like, WOOOOOWWWWWWW!

Knowing the state of my exam script, with the contents being either big blanks, general knowledge, and scanty bits of hazily recalled information, and having left early, it is only by a PURE MIRACLE that i passed, let alone obtain a B-.


2. Overcoming Sickness

2A. (prior and during the mission trip)

Apparently, a few weeks before leaving on my mission trip to East Timor, my bloating from IBS starting acting up again, and the day before my departure, i started experiencing sharp pains in my left ear. The pain just came out from the blue, and i don't remember having ever felt them before and i sure didn't have any prior injury to warrant the pain.

My folks suggested that these may be signs of anxiety, but since i didn't feel anxious, i had a feeling that these obstacles coming my way could be something more spiritual in nature (when we are bent on doing God's will and work, the enemy would want to get us down!). Knowing the possibility of that, I refused to be discouraged and i asked my parents to pray for me.

In addition, i kept having these persistent and disturbing thoughts that i was going to be sick on the trip, and that i will surely be bogged down by it. The thoughts kept bugging me and in some ways, the mental happenings manifested a bit into the physical and i began to feel a little headachey and nauseous. I had to keep rejecting those thoughts.

When my team and i arrived in Kupang, they celebrated my birthday! HAH, with a really cool doughnut with a candle on top. So cute lah, i wonder who brought the doughnut all the way from Singapore. So i told them about the health related struggles i was having and they prayed for me.

Suffice to say, i was NOT SICK throughout my trip. The only time when i got motion sickness was after a 12 hour long van ride, which i recovered from after a night's rest. And yes, NO BLOATING from IBS during my trip! AND, NO EAR PAIN either! HAH!

2B. (during my Worship Team Advance, aka, camp.)

A few days before going for camp, i went shopping at Jurong Point, and i think i caught some bug. My nose became really itchy, stuck AND runny, and i would sneeze ever so often. It was uncomfortable and i know i wasn't exactly sick. This uncomfortable respiratory problem prolonged for close to one week.

I slept through one night at camp with a clogged and itchy nose. But the next morning, something amazing happened.

During the worship session, Pastor Jenn told us about how God had given her an annointing on her hands. It had happened some time ago when a visitor speaker had visited our church (Kobush? i think.) and had prayed for her. And when the speaker had prayed for her, she felt a supernatural sensation in her hands and she has been able to recognise the same sensation which signified that God has his annointing on her to do His work. Meaning that He will work with and through her whenever she uses her hands to pray for and bless others.

So, she told us that after asking God if she could, she said that she wanted to symbolically pray for each of us so that we could receive this same annointing. She did, and prayed for pretty much everyone. When she came and prayed for me, i didn't feel anything significant, but i believed in whatever God can do anyway, whether or not i can see or feel.

After she prayed for me, i sat down thinking about my stuffy nose. I realized that: hey, it's NOT normal for me to have this stuffy nose. I'm NOT sick, and i know that for a fact because my condition wasn't getting worse, it was just stagnant, as if i had a perpetual allergy to something. Even in air conditioned rooms, i don't have this kind of problem. I missed my freed air passageways!

So, i thought to myself, since my hands have been prayed for, i shall use them!

I laid both my hands around my neck and prayed. I asked God: Ok, God, i pray that you will clear out my air ways, and that i'll be able to breathe freely again like i've always been able to. I don't normally have sinus issues, so Lord, i pray against this problem. (end)

I did not experience anything SUPER INSTANT or like thunder and lightning or anything moving through my body.... But you know what. In the next few minutes, i actually felt my air ways clearing. First it was one nostril that cleared up, and then the next one also cleared up. And suddenly, i could breathe freely again! As in, seriously! It was like, my nose moved from being totally blocked and dripping to completely clear.



3. Hearing His Voice of Love (happened during the Timor trip)

Although i've been a Christian pretty much all my life (second generation Christian), there're times when i struggle with knowing whether God loves me. You know, you hear the same line: Jesus Loves You, so many times but yet you don't FEEL it like the way you would when someone says it to you personally or hugs you or something.

But during on morning worship session in East Timor with my team, the Lord spoke to one of us about how much he loved us, and that team member shared it. In confirmation, another team member also felt God tell her that he loved her.

For myself, during worship i was singing really loudly but something inside said: stop singing so loudly, just be still. So i stopped and sat down and asked God, "God, what do you want to tell me or the team?"
And i thought i heard Him say so tenderly: I just love you.
Even as i am typing this, my eyes fill with tears remembering His insistent and gentle reminder.

After worship was over, the team shared their experience during worship, and i shared mine... And i tell you. I DON'T KNOW WHY AND HOW, but when i narrated to them what i had heard, i started to tear, and then all of a sudden, i started to BAWL. YES, BAWL. Like, the kind of crying which involves -wailing- and a lot of tears. I mean, like, hello, i COULD NOT CONTROL IT, it just came out so strong from the depths of my subconscious being and i had to HIDE my embarrassment by laughing with a "hee hee hee" in the midst of my crying. HAHAHAHA. I bet i scared my team mates a bit. I was really fighting to suppress whatever sound that was coming out through my lips.

I've NEVER cried like that in front of strangers (yes, i love my team, but they are not super close to me that i would cry in front of them, except for maybe one or two) as an adult.

I was quite shocked by what was happening. I'm no stranger to the notion of crying when God touches me or someone, but wailing? And in front of others? NO WAY! That kind of crying, i do only in privacy, and even then, it is very rare.

One of my team mates rallied the others to pray for me during that extraordinary moment and i felt so odd. HAHA. So yes... God really surprised me that morning, and it's an experience i won't be forgetting.

4. Repairing the broken areas (during the Timor trip)

Just a bit of background information:

As a child, i've always been jealous and starved of attention and affection. It's not that my parents never gave me any. I just wanted to be treated with devotion ALL the time. So you can imagine what kind of horror breaks loose when there was even a tiny mention of having another sibling. Finding that out was the most horrifying thing to me because to me at that time, if my mom had another kid, i would no longer be loved as much and i was not going to allow that to happen.

It did not help that in the presence of babies and young children, my mom would coo over and cuddle them and "forget" all about me. And because of what i saw and felt, it did not assure me that she would still love me if another sibling arrived.

Ever since, i had hated young children because of what they represented. I had the notion that they were irritating, troublesome and that i'd be far better off without children. And i always thought that young children did not take to me well like they would to my other peers.

Another one of my struggles is related to how i look. I'm part confident of myself, but a part is also always seeking man's approval and praise. So when i went to East Timor (now don't you laugh ok!) i craved the admiration and approval of the people.

Sounds stupid i know, but you know how as locals, we might find foreigners interesting? Yeah, same concept here. As a foreigner, i had also wanted some form of attention.

But on one of the days on a visit to a secondary school, i felt rather rejected and insignificant in comparison to my team mates, and though i was smiling, laughing and looking like i was enjoying myself, i felt a wound inside festering.

But let me tell you... GOD WORKS IN REALLY FUNNY WAYS. Listen to this:

Our Timor co-ordinator, Dick, who is also a member from my church who helped us with the arranging of transport and everything else, was hanging out with the neighbours' kids next door. I was hanging around outside our house (which is next door to Dick and the kids) when
Dick yelled over to me: JOLINE!!!

J: (turns to look over the fence to the house next door) Yeah?
D: You've got a FAN CLUB! (gestures to the children)
J: HUH?!
(then suddenly, ALL the children yelled, "HI JOLINE!!!!!!!")
D: (says something i could not hear)
J: Huh?!?
D: Never mind!

Later on, i popped over to the neighbour's house with my team leader and i found out from Dick that, the children became my "fans" because....... HAH, AIYO, this is so weird! Apparently, one of the kids was from the secondary school we had visited earlier and she saw me. So when i got to meet her at her home, she told me in Tetun (the language used there), "You, Bonita.". "Bonita" means "beautiful" in Tetun.

I was quite astounded by all this because never in my life have i been told by anyone so unabashedly and with so much admiration that i was beautiful. And the more i thought about it, the more i was beginning to see God's hand in it. You see, God did two things through this situation.

He had brought and used his innocent little children to touch and soften my heart (my first problem) and at the same time, he was assuring me that i was already beautiful (my second problem).

I then knew that i was hearing God, through his little children (that i found so hard to love for so many years), and that I was hearing and receiving his love for me.

I brought a camera over and took pictures with them, kind of like an unspoken way to tell them that i will remember this moment and that they were important enough for me to remember them. And the girl who spoke to me hugged me so tightly during the phototaking!

Isn't God cute? :-D
I certainly think so!


Ok, that was a REALLY long post lah. But i KNOW that for God's glory, i shall speak of His goodness in my life! And here it is!

I just realized that the testimonies cover areas of inner (emotional and mental) as well as physical healing. AHAHAHA! I so happy man.

Think the post is too long to edit now lah, so i won't bother to for now. I am just too excited to let it sit in my draft box! So, here it is! (will update if i can remember more that happened to me in the past months)

Friday, January 04, 2008

Ok, hi folks... A HAPPY NOO YAH TO YOOOO! How've you been?

Right... i've been MIA-ing again. Been awfully busy with a four day long "camp" in my home! I had so much fun, can? Ah, well, i've got another camp, a real one this time. I'll be gone from friday to sunday for my band advance (worship team camp).

Ha, if there's one thing i've learnt from a mission trip (other than experiencing God and learning life lessons), it's packing light and packing smart. i don't remember never being this efficient with my packing! Awesome... Anyways, i think that national service really equips guys (the guys i tripped with) with useful knowledge about surviving outside and without the comforts of home.

Got to go! Shucks. I wonder how i can squeeze in some time for shopping this week. Hmmm...